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Basque Experiences discover more of La Rioja

New La Rioja Wineries for 2018-19

As a Basque Country DMC and travel agency, we are always on the lookout for new product, people and activities to offer our clients. La Rioja offers a fantastic  variety of different experiences, and we have to keep up to speed on all of them!

It sounds like a really easy job, visiting wineries and driving around wine country, but believe me, we are doing it for you!

Modern and traditional

Developing relationships with all kinds of winemakers is fundamental. It means we can offer the best options to our clients. Small producers like Bodegas Tobelos in Briñas, who make around 200,000 bottles a year, and only crianzas and reservas. To the larger Valdemar or Bodegas Faustino, both famous internationally that produce millions of bottles.

Our visits took us to Bodegas Izadi, who along with fantastic wine give us the opportunity to be able to offer gastronomic experiences as well. Really special, tailor-made basque experiences!! In the village of Cenicero, is situated the historic and truly spectacular Bodegas Riojanas. Their superb installations, and excellent wine make for a fascinating contrast to the smaller, ‘garage’ bodegas.

Basque Wine Tours

At Basque Experiences we  will tailor-make your visit to La Rioja. Be you a small private family group, or an agency looking for a trusted DMC, with personalised attention. Its not all tasting wine you know!!

 

  • Basque Experiences Wine
  • Basque Experiences
  • Basque Experiences create wine tasting tours
  • Basque Experiences Wine Tours
  • Wine with Basque Experiences

 

 

 

Destination Pamplona and Navarra

Navarra

Nestled between the Pyrenees and the Spanish plains, sits the province of Navarra. Neighbour and family to the Basque Country.

Known to some as the home of the Running of the Bulls and Hemingway’s Pamplona, its a little-known gem.

An ancient kingdom, with its own castles, palaces, cathedrals, fortresses and charming hidden villages. Preserved over time, Navarra is home to many many surprises, and now Basque Experiences is opening its doors for you…

Navarra Tours

The city of Pamplona, ancient, historic and full of surprises. Home to the Running of the Bulls in July, the inspiration to Hemingway’s ‘Fiesta’ is a charming mediaeval walled city.  Its palaces, castles, churches and cathedral are those of an ancient capital. Founded by Romans, invaded by Barbarians, fought over by Spain, history seeps from its stone walls.

Less than 2 hours drive from Bilbao airport and 4 from Madrid, its also well connected by train. Five star hotels, Michelin Starred restaurants, local produce and wine, Pamplona is a real capital. Mountains and hiking, Basque villages and culture to the north. The south sees wine, fields of wheat, orchards and deserts. Used many times as a film location, Game of Thrones being a recent highlight.

A long weekend, or part of a longer multi-day Tour, Navarra and Pamplona are a special destination. Off the route for many visitors outside of the July Running of the Bulls shenanigans, its a warm and dry city, easily visited on foot. And for those who do wish to walk, its the first major stop on the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James!!

  • Olite Castle
  • Pamplona Bulls
  • Bardenas Desert Navarra
  • Pamplona Town Hall
  • Pamplona Cathedral
  • Olite

 

Basque Country Food. Where is it from ? pt. 2

Food…thats it!

Where does our amazing produce come from and how do we use this great resource. Part 2 of our quick look at Basque Country food, produce and gastronomy with the chef José Pizarro, owner of 4 restaurants in London.

Alava, Inland Basque Country

Sometimes overlooked by visitors keen to see Bilbao and San Sebastian, Alava is the 3rd province of Euskadi, Basque Country and is completely landlocked. This is wine country, and many visitors come to learn and sample our famous Rioja Alavesa wine However, it holds many surprises as Jose found out!

Salt Cheese and Txakoli

Hidden in the green valleys lies a geological gem, millions of years old but very relevant today. The Salt Pans of Añana are marvellous. A fountain (or 3) of saline liquid, used over millenia to cure, store and flavour the Basque peoples food. Today we can visit and learn about this amazing place but also taste it in our own Denominacion de Origen Idiazabal Cheese. We visited our good friend Leire who is the only producer of this most Basque of Basque cheeses who uses this salt in the production of her award winning cheeses. The surprise here though is its not only Idiazabal that one tries… 🙂

Close by and another good friend sees us visit BarraskiBide, a farm producing organic snails, a popular dish all over Spain and especially those who are fond of Biscayan Sauce…. Nestled under the Sierra Salvada mountain range, the snails are well guarded so they don’t escape….

And what would one choose to wash these delicious products down with? Well our own Txakoli Arabako. The third region with the D.O. to produce Txakoli wine in the Basque Country. Our friends at Astobiza and Beldui are perfect hosts and enable Jose to learn taste and discuss the amazing advances this wine has experienced since it became regulated in the 1980’s.

Sleeping it off….

After all these foodie gastronomic exertions, sometimes there is nothing better than a siesta… However, when staying with us here at Basque Experiences we have our own favourite places, and top of the list in Bilbao is the great Hotel Miro. Opposite the iconic Guggenheim Bilbao, the service is what you would expect from a small privately -run hotel. It never fails!!

Just a short blog extolling some of our food highlights here in the Basque Country with Basque Experiences. But keep your eyes open for a foodie surprise in the coming weeks…..

 

    Gipuzkoa and the Basque Country

    Hills of Gipuzkoa, Basque Country

    Hidden away up the the green and verdant hills in the Basque Province of Gipuzkoa, one finds a thriving and rich society, a world away from the city of San Sebastián only a short drive away…

    Goierri

    The hinterland of Gipuzkoa is hilly, there are a few mountains but generally its a green land, full of valleys separated by peaks. This area is called Goierri, and it has an ancient history. Basque culture is stronger here than anywhere else one could say. The locals all speak Basque, all the time, the traditions and the history are omnipresent. The charming small villages dotted around the land are only outnumbered by the baserris or large old stone and timber farmhouses perched higher up on these green and lush hillsides. Hidden away it feels like time has stood still here until you scratch the surface!

    Local Produce

    Our Basque Culture is true to its roots. Tradition, family, respect and language are all fundamental. However, throughout history, we Basques have adapted and embraced change, and in some cases influenced it!

    A Basque Country Tour would be incomplete without a visit to this rich area. Take a six-day hike along the ‘Ruta de Queso’ visiting tiny villages, running streams, mountains, cheese-makers and cider producers. A great way to learn about the region from the locals and their customs. A shorter Basque Tour could involve a visit to an Idiazabal cheese-maker in the village of Segura. The Ondarre farmhouse has been making this cheese from raw ‘Latxa’ sheep milk for 7 generations, and their house is over 500 years old! Not only can you milk the sheep and learn the process, you can stay there too as they have 6 rooms and 2, 4-bed apartments!

    Cider

    Cider makers abound in this area and a day’s visit would be incomplete without learning (and tasting of course) the regions favourite tipple . From here lunch in a Sagardotegi or Cider House is obligatory!!!

    For those more interested in a slightly more refined dining experience a visit to one of the areas superb local-produce markets would be indispensible! Wednesdays in Ordizia ia a market where locals have been bringing their produce, all seasonal of course as that’s how we have always done it here, in fact every Wednesday since the 16th century to be exact…. Saturday sees Tolosa show its wares in a two amazing markets in what was the former capital of Gipuzkoa. Even better, make your Basque Country Tour more complete by visiting the market with a local chef. With them, see how they select the best and then accompany them to cook it yourselves!! Not only learning to cook like a Basque, but eating like one too!! We can’t wait to take you around!!!!

    • Tolosa Market Gipuzkoa
    • Ondarre lambs Gipuzkoa
    • cider museum gipuzkoa
    • Cooking in Ordizia Gipuzkoa
    • Segura Gipuzkoa
    • ondarre gipuzkoa

    Paesi Baschi – Euskadi

    Paesi Baschi…

    È un piacere, per noi, poter mostrare Paesi Baschi (Euskadi) a tutto il mondo, con le nostre abitudini, le nostre tradizioni, i nostri luoghi. Siete tutti invitati a venire a visitarci e a conoscerci direttamente, e sopratutto a godere di tutto quello che offre la nostra terra. Con questo post in Italiano, inauguriamo una serie di articoli che speriamo risveglino in voi la curiosità di visitare Euskadi, accompagnati da gente del luogo che vi farà sentire, in ogni istante, come un Basco vero e proprio.

    Vi aspettiamo !!!!

    In questo post vi mostriamo un video della regione Basca e il timelapse della provincia più’ bella della Biscaglia, quella del territorio di Uribe Costa. Paese Baschi Tours con Basque Experiences!

    Es un placer poder mostrar Euskadi a todo el mundo, con nuestras costumbres, lugares, tradiciones. De tal modo que en un momento determinado puedan visitarnos y conocernos de primera mano, y disfrutar de todo lo que nos ofrece nuestra tierra.

    En este post en italiano inaguramos una serie de artículos que esperamos despierten la curiosidad por visitar el ‘Paesi Baschi’ de mano de compatriotas locales que les harán sentir como un vasco más, pero en su idioma.

    Les esperamos pronto¡¡¡

    En este post les mostramos para empezar un video de Euskadi y un timelapse de una de las comarcas más bellas de la Costa de Bizkaia, la comarca de Uribe Costa.

    And for those of you non-Latin language speakers, we have introduced a series of blogs in Italian for our Italian friends and visitors. Basque Experiences are looking to broaden our horizons by attracting a very knowledgeable market, especially in Culinary, Culturally and Wine terms. Basque Experiences creating private guided tours, special journeys and experiential travel for those discerning travellers seeking to discover Paesi Baschi. Basque Country Tours